Editor’s Note: We are standardizing the format for daily COVID-19 case data updates. These articles may feel repetitious but we want each post to stand alone in terms of providing maximum context around the data. This is the update for Thursday, April 23.
Lebanon County is now tracking at 544 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to current Pennsylvania Department of Health data, with 2,128 negative tests.
The Department of Health is reporting six Lebanon County deaths to date from COVID-19, while Lebanon County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Yocum is reporting four at this time. Yesterday the DOH had been reporting eight Lebanon County deaths. We have contacted the DOH about this change and will update this post upon learning more, but in any event it appears to have been a statewide correction as the overall deaths number dropped from 1,622 yesterday to 1,394 today.
Update 1:30 p.m.: In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said that probable COVID-19 deaths have been removed from the state’s dataset. “At times, there are things that we need to review, and potentially revisit the way data is being analyzed,” said Levine. “This is one of those times.” We will update this article again when we have more info on the background behind this decision.
According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, the four deaths confirmed by the coroner’s office are linked to residents from Lebanon County municipalities as follows:
- Bethel Township (1)
- City of Lebanon (2)
- Swatara Township (1)
The state began breaking cases out by ZIP code on April 20. Find the full dashboard here or see below for how cases looked across Lebanon County ZIP codes as of the last time the data was updated. New today in the state’s data are the breakouts for probable cases. Please note that some ZIP codes include land in other counties as well as in Lebanon County. To be comprehensive we have included any ZIP code that falls even partly inside county lines. We are also aware that not all Lebanon County ZIP codes are present in this dataset. We have informed the DOH of this fact and were told they will look into how the missing ZIP codes can be added.
- 17003 (Annville) – nine positive, 89 negative, zero probable
- 17026 (Fredericksburg) – 12 positive, 36 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17028 (Grantville) – 1-4 positive (redacted), 28 negative, 0 probable
- 17038 (Jonestown) – 12 positive, 85 negative, zero probable
- 17042 (Lebanon) – 165 positive, 632 negative, 5 probable
- 17046 (Lebanon) – 257 positive, 632 negative, 6 probable
- 17064 (Mount Gretna) 1-4 positive (redacted), 13 negative, zero probable
- 17067 (Myerstown) – 31 positive, 140 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17073 (Newmanstown) – seven positive, 42 negative, zero probable
- 17078 (Palmyra) – 23 positive, 245 negative, zero probable
- 17087 (Richland) – 1-4 positive (redacted), 14 negative, zero probable
- 17545 (Manheim) – 46 positive, 205 negative, zero probable
- 17963 (Pine Grove) – 12 positive, 72 negative, zero probable
- 19551 (Robesonia) – six positive, 45 negative, zero probable
- 19567 (Womelsdorf) – 11 positive, 37 negative, zero probable
The state is reporting COVID-19 cases at one nursing home or personal care facility in the county right now, with ten cases among residents and two cases among employees, an increase of one case for both residents and employees compared to yesterday. According to DOH data, there has now been one death linked to Lebanon County nursing homes or personal care facilities to date, new since yesterday.
As of Wednesday, WellSpan Health has made available a dashboard showing hospital-specific data. To date, there have been 2,117 tests performed by WellSpan Health in Lebanon County, with 2,016 of those finalized and 101 pending. 422 tests were positive or 20.9%.
According to WellSpan data, five deaths have occurred at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital as a result of coronavirus. WellSpan notes that this information is not based on patient residency and therefore may different from DOH statistics. Currently there are sixteen confirmed positive COVID-19 patients at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and two suspected/presumed patients.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also makes some information available regarding treatment of coronavirus at its facilities. At present, the Lebanon VA Medical Center is providing care to 42 people who tested positive for COVID-19 and has recorded one inpatient death from the virus.
Here’s how Lebanon County’s confirmed case count has grown since the pandemic began.
Negative test information has only been shared for about a week now, but we are including a new chart today showing how confirmed cases compare to overall tests. Please note that we are only including the past five days for charts with negative tests at present due to limited historical data.
Here’s how the daily number of new cases looks over that same period.
Here’s how that looks when negative tests are included. Again, we are only showing the last five days here and will be expanding this as more historical data becomes available.
Here’s how the daily new cases look averaged over the previous seven days.
Here’s how the daily new cases look against new negative tests as a rolling five day average. We are only showing the last few days in this graph as the addition of all negative tests, which occurred on 4/16, would otherwise skew the data.
Here are the raw numbers for neighboring counties:
- Berks County – 2,212 cases, 86 deaths, 4,408 negative tests
- Dauphin County – 445 cases, 16 deaths, 2,733 negative tests
- Lancaster County – 1,359 cases, 72 deaths, 6,267 negative tests
- Schuylkill County – 290 cases, five deaths, 1,600 negative tests
The current statewide positive count is 37,053, with 1,394 deaths. The state has recorded 142,061 negative tests. For additional context, we are also tracking Philadelphia and Lehigh Counties.
- Lehigh County – 2,418 cases, 43 deaths, 6,205 negative tests
- Philadelphia County – 10,090 cases, 271 deaths, 22,384 negative tests
Here’s how Lebanon County compares to other regions across three main ratios (see FAQ for background info on these indicators).
Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population
- Berks County – 0.53% (421,164 population)
- Dauphin County – 0.16% (278,299 population)
- Lancaster County – 0.25% (545,724 population)
- Lebanon County – 0.38% (141,793 population)
- Schuylkill County – 0.21% (141,359 population)
For additional context:
- Statewide – 0.29% (12,801,989 population)
- Philadelphia County – 0.64% (1,584,064 population)
- Lehigh County – 0.65% (369,318 population)
Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population
- Berks County – 1.57% (421,164 population)
- Dauphin County – 1.14% (278,299 population)
- Lancaster County – 1.40% (545,724 population)
- Lebanon County – 1.88% (141,793 population)
- Schuylkill County – 1.34% (141,359 population)
For additional context:
- Statewide – 1.40% (12,801,989 population)
- Philadelphia County – 2.05% (1,584,064 population)
- Lehigh County – 2.33% (369,318 population)
Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests
- Berks County – 33.41% (6,620 tests)
- Dauphin County – 14% (3,178 tests)
- Lancaster County – 17.82% (7,626 tests)
- Lebanon County – 20.36% (2,672 tests)
- Schuylkill County – 15.34% (1,890 tests)
For additional context:
- Statewide – 20.69% (179,114 tests)
- Philadelphia County – 31.07% (32,474 tests)
- Lehigh County – 28.04% (8,623 tests)
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are COVID-19 cases occurring in Lebanon County?
The state began releasing ZIP-level date on April 20 and intends to update this dataset daily. We now include it in the main update above. Some ZIP codes are missing at this point and the DOH says they are working on including them. Previously, the DOH had declined to share ZIP code level data, citing HIPAA concerns. LebTown editorialized on this issue and questioned the applicability of HIPAA in this regard. Earlier this month the state also presented counties with an offer for specific addresses (but not names) of COVID-19 patients to be shared with 911 centers, but Lebanon County has declined so far to enter that agreement, citing concerns shared by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania that the agreement exposes the county to undue liability. Lancaster Newspapers has reported that the Lancaster County Commissioners share this view as well. In any event, that agreement, if ratified, would prevent county officials from sharing the data with the public.
Which Lebanon County nursing homes have outbreaks of COVID-19?
We don’t know, but are trying to find out. Earlier this month the state began disclosing how many COVID-19 cases were associated with nursing homes at the county-level. This dataset is limited in that it doesn’t identify the nursing homes and represents only an aggregate of all specific nursing home data. We included these aggregate figures in our primary daily update above.
How does Lebanon County look compared to other counties?
This is a complicated question and there’s no one answer to it. In our primary daily update, we track a few specific ratios:
- Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population
- Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population
- Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests
In general, Lebanon County will be doing well if we can continue to increase the top ratio while holding steady with the middle ratio. In that scenario, the bottom ratio would necessarily go down. One major caveat: With testing percentages across the state still low, the statistical significance of conclusions made from this data may be limited.
How does the state define a COVID-19 case?
Initially cases were only listed by the state if a positive test had been recorded. Earlier this month the state began including probable cases as well. Here is how the state defines probable cases:
- Appropriate symptoms of COVID-19 and exposed to a high-risk scenario
- A positive antibody test and either symptoms or a high-risk exposure
- A fatal case with no known test result, but COVID-19 named as either the primary or a contributing cause of death
How many tests have been done in Lebanon County?
This is a complicated question. The state does not track, at least publicly, the total number of outstanding tests at the county level. WellSpan Health began disclosing hospital-specific data related to COVID-19 testing and treatment on April 22 and we include this information in our daily update above. One complication here is that just because a test was administered in a specific county, does not mean that the person who received the test resides in that same county. However the state has recently added the number of negative tests to its county-level data. By adding the negative tests number with the total cases number, we can estimate the total number of tests taken by Lebanon County residents, although this figure should be seen as a proxy and not an absolute or highly precise measure.
How many people have recovered from COVID-19?
We don’t know. The state has said that it is not able to track the recovery of the tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, but it is working on getting hospital discharge data and hopes to “soon” be able to release that information. WellSpan Health does not include discharge information in its dashboard. The Department of Veterans Affairs also does not include recovery information in its COVID-19 dataset, and furthermore patients treated at the Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center may not be Lebanon County residents, as the facility serves a nine county region.
How can Lebanon County and the Department of Health have two different numbers for COVID-19 deaths?
The Department of Health has said that fatal cases which are not reported through the state’s electronic system may not be captured in the official counts. This has been an issue across the state, with coroners elsewhere saying that they don’t have sufficient tests to determine whether a specific death was caused by COVID-19.
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Update 4/24: We have removed a graph that was meant to depict how close Lebanon County was to satisfying the Governor’s reopening conditions as we determined that the DOH was using a different formula than originally thought. We are updating this graph for future daily updates, and will be included a fuller explanation in the one to be published today, Friday, April 24.